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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

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what if any is the difference in sound between a recording and a live voice, between a voice on the telephone and the same voice live?

Let's say you heard your mother's voice in the next room. You couldn't see what was in there, and you knew it might be a recording or it might be her in there speaking live. Is there a difference in sound quality between recorded sound and live sound, so that you could know whether it is a recording or her live? If there is a difference how would you characterize it? People who are not audio experts are welcome to give their opinion.

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    Jan 23 2013: I'm no audio expert, but I suspect it has something to do with dynamics or miniscule but powerful 'spikes' in sound. The live sound of your mother's voice has free-range dynamics, whereas a recording of her voice would be dulled down, or clipped, in the recording/playback equipment's electronics, microphones, and speaker cones.

    I don't think it has much to do with a frequency range mismatch. (recording equipment and human hearing - both, I think, are roughly in the range 20 - 20,000 hertz). The problem seems more to do with the dynamics of volume...?
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      Feb 10 2013: I agree that the recording would sound dull, Allan, but not sure it has to do with "slides" up and down in volume. Or maybe it does, the live voice hits more accents, and the recording flattens them. Why would the equipment dull it down?

      There's something else, though, if a sound sounds "bright," what does that mean in technical terms? I wonder if a recording actually takes all sound a little bit toward the bass register? I kind of want to say that all the recorded stuff sounds like it's slightly coming through a very fine cheesecloth. Maybe the enunciation of any recorded speaker is not as sharp as a live one. Or recorded sound all sounds like it's coming through a "fog." Wonder what causes that?

      Have you had any more thoughts on this? I still don't feel I've gotten it, although with your help I'm closer. Please see my conversation with Lejan . above.

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